All right, 2015 has been a rough year. A lot of things came to a head in my life, and it has been very stressful and emotionally draining. But 2016 feels like a good time to make a new start.
I went through and counted, and my grand total for comic pages drawn is 22. That is across all archives. I also did 13 stand-alone pieces of art and maybe only 15-20 pages of various novel projects written. This is unacceptable to me. In college with failing health, a large workload, and tonnes of friends and activities, I could draw 150+ comic pages per year, and dozens of stand-alone art pieces.
Granted, I’ve had some major obstacles in 2015. Much of my equipment died or was on its last gasp. I went most of the year without a flatbed scanner, my tablet was turning wonky plus was so scratched up I could scarcely draw a smooth line anymore, and to top it off my desk kept collapsing. Sometimes I’d have to hold it up with my knee while I worked. Add to all this the fact that I was moving around so much that I was often away from my computer, and it was definitely a challenge to get into a working groove.
My family life as I knew it started dissolving early this year. In February I found myself needing to flee on very short notice. I packed everything valuable I owned and crammed as many clothes as would fit in my suitcase, all within the span of a couple hours, and got out. I was later able to return home, but things had changed, and my world was shaken to the core. The rest of this year I have been struggling to accept the new family dynamic and find myself.
In the past I dealt with stress by, well, writing and drawing lots and lots of comics. But this year that hasn’t worked. I found myself too exhausted or apathetic to do much art or writing. For quite a while I thought it was my own perfectionism that had turned me off of drawing – that I demanded far too much effort of myself for each page. But as the year has progressed, I’ve realised that that isn’t it. It’s not that the art is daunting, but that I’d lost my passion for it.
For most of my life I’ve churned out art at a breakneck pace. I have boxes, drawers, folios, all stuffed to bursting with art. And it was never the difficulty that stymied me. In fact, most of my pieces were wildly over-ambitious. My visions too grand to be adequately captured by an amateur hand. But that didn’t matter. I loved every second, found joy with every stroke, and could easily spend all day doing nothing but draw.
Right now I am struggling to find that inferno of artistic passion again. I want it back more than anything. And I am going to work very hard in 2016 to get myself productive again. I’m always happier when I feel like I’ve accomplished something tangible.
This new drive to start getting serious about art and writing again is aided by finally getting new equipment. I have a new desk (though we still need to assemble it). For Christmas my extremely generous mother got me a new flatbed scanner AND wacom tablet. I’ll still often be away from home, but I will soon have a more practical kit for mobile productivity: I have my portable scanner / printer (LOVE that thing), and will soon have a Surface 3.
I have been almost exclusively Apple all my life. I owned one windows laptop that was issued by my college and I called it The Bastard Child. It’s not that I hate Microsoft, I just don’t know enough about how they work (and that laptop was not very good. Other students called their issued computers their ‘craptops’). But Apple has been steadily falling from my good graces, and I’m willing to give Windows another good go. If the iPad were a fully-functioning computer I needn’t bother, but it’s very difficult to work on, with apps greatly inferior to desktop art programs like Photoshop and Manga Studio and (until recently) only third-party styli full of bugs and that behaved temperamentally at best.
But I found a Surface 3 on huge discount the other day, and I’ll be getting it in the mail in early January. I’m hoping against hope that it will work well enough to be a mobile work solution. I doubt I’ll be able to do as much heavy-duty detail work on it as on my mac, but I’m crossing my fingers that it will at least allow me to get things done while I’m not at home.
So here’s to a new year, in which my goals are to pull myself together and GET STUFF DONE! I’m sure my reader base will perk up again once I actually have pages updating regularly!
BRING IT ’16!! 😀